Those who are trying to grow it and sell it on Long Island have a new way to try and get their business on the map.
Suffolk County announced that through the Choose LI – Local and Independent initiative, local businesses can request a free “Choose LI” or “Take the Pledge” sign to display at their farm stand, farmers market, fish market, brewery, cidery, distillery or vineyard. The signs, printed on white corrugated plastic measuring either 18 × 24 feet or 30 × 40 feet, can be requested online through the chooseli.org website. To date, more than 46 local businesses have signed up, according to a county press release.
“Our local farmstands, fish markets, vineyards and breweries are the backbone of our community and we want residents to continue to take advantage of these locally grown and harvested products,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) in a release.
The Choose LI initiative asks local residents and visitors to choose goods from local and independent farmers and fishermen. Suffolk is asking residents to “Take the Pledge” and commit to spending 10 percent of their weekly food budget, approximately $17.60, on local and independent food goods.
The website includes a searchable and interactive map of all the farmstands, farmers markets, fish markets, vineyards, breweries, cideries and distilleries in Suffolk County
The searchable map currently lists 25 farmers markets, 115 farmstands, 33 breweries, 4 distilleries, 2 cideries, 33 fish markets, 51 vineyards, 21 restaurants selling local oysters and 49 flower retailers. Anyone who visits the website can interact with the map, finding the exact address, hours of operation, phone number, and website of the business they are looking for. If your business selling Long Island produce is missing from the county map, please contact Choose LI at [email protected]
Visitors to the farmers market on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society every Friday afternoon will discover new things this year, including a mission to help out a good cause.
The East Setauket Farmers Market has now been named the Three Village Artisan and Farmers Market, or nicknamed Three Village Market for short. Linda Johnson, owner of Chocology Unlimited and market manager, said the new name reflects the growing participation of vendors from across the Three Village area and the artisans, musicians and other makers on hand every week. This year, the market aims to raise money with various fundraisers throughout the season for Stony Brook Cancer Center, specifically the Healthy Forks and Move to Heal Survivorship series.
“We want to make the market more of a gathering place and at the same time give back to the community,” Johnson said.
The business owner said it made sense to partner with the cancer center’s program.
“It’s all about nutrition and eating healthy, and how people can eat healthy but also not spend a lot of money,” she said.
Jennifer Fitzgibbon, Stony Brook Cancer Center’s oncology nutritionist and the Healthy Forks program coordinator, said she was pleased when she heard the farmers market’s fundraisers would benefit the program.
“I am a firm believer in the addition of fresh produce and what the market features, so the fact that we’re going to be working together, I’m so excited about it,” Fitzgibbon said.
The nutritionist says she takes participants in the program to grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s, to show them how to make healthier choices while eating
affordably, and she plans to take them to the Three Village Market this year.
“I love going there,” she said. “I just think it’s such a beautiful climate. You go there and everyone is so friendly, and every little spot you look at — for example, the organic herbs and the pepper hot sauce — you can really get a nutritional sense from every little piece.”
Fitzgibbon said farmers markets offer fresher, more seasonal products, which means adding a better variety of nutrients to diets. She suggests eating five to eight servings of low-glycemic plant foods a day.
“I just think it’s such a beautiful climate. You go there and everyone is so friendly, and every little spot you look at — for example the organic herbs and the pepper hot sauce — you can really get a nutritional sense from every little piece.”
— Jennifer Fitzgibbon
As she works in conjunction with physical therapist Denise Dahlgren, the funds raised at the Three Village Market will go toward exercise equipment, including yoga mats and pedometers for participants in the Healthy Forks series.
Linda Bily, director of cancer patient advocacy and community outreach at Stony Brook Medicine, said the hospital always welcomes donations from the community. She said patients have received items
including cards from Scouts and hats knitted by senior citizens. One patient who received both a hat and a card was inspired to ask her company to create bags for cancer patients that were filled with hand sanitizers, tissues, lip balm and more.
“It’s hard for someone that isn’t going through cancer treatments to understand the value of these small, comforting things that say, ‘Hey, I got your back. Someone is looking out for you,’” Bily said.
Johnson said the market almost didn’t come together this year. She decided to help manage the market and reached out to the owners of Ann Marie’s Farmstand of Port Jefferson Station. They were the first to agree to be part of the new market and other businesses quickly joined the list of vendors.
The market opened June 1, and Johnson said each week more people are stopping by. She said there is also a tent where children can make crafts and listen to authors read their books.
“People have been very happy, which is really nice to see,” she said. “They’re liking what they’re seeing and feeling.”
The Three Village Artisan and Farmers Market is open every Friday until Oct. 26 from 3 to 7 p.m. It is located at 93 N. County Road in Setauket.
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